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Frustration grows over enforcement practices, policies

Posted by on November 7th, 2007 at 12:40 pm

“There just has to be some consequences for drivers who plow into cyclists.”
–Julie Rawls, a witness to yesterday’s collision.

The frustration of many people in the community has reached a boiling point. The well over one-hundred comments on this site (and others), emails and phone calls I’ve received, and messages on local email lists leave little doubt that many Portlanders are confused and concerned over how the police have responded to recent crashes.

Frustrations hinge on the policies and practices of the Police Bureau that have come to light following a string of recent bike/car collisions. Many people point out that in three recent collisions (two resulted in a fatality, one led to serious injuries) citations were not issued, even though a law (ORS 811.050; failure to yield to rider on bicycle lane) was violated.

Julie Rawls was driving a car directly behind Lisa Wheeler and watched as Wheeler turned her car into the bike lane and hit Siobhan Doyle yesterday. Here’s an excerpt from a comment she left this morning:

“The fact that there is no citation in this situation is just extremely frustrating. This driver was totally negligent and was not paying attention while driving. There just has to be some consequences for drivers who plow into cyclists. Also, I can corroborate the story that the driver was less than helpful. Maybe she was traumatized too…but she stood around and showed little to no emotion.”

Rawls is not the only one who has expressed frustration. City Council hopeful Chris Smith added his thoughts on his blog this morning:

“Wag of the Finger to the Portland Police Bureau who declined to issue a citation or conduct an investigation despite eyewitness accounts that would suggest the possibility of erratic driving by the operator of the car.”

Local author and nationally recognized bicycling personality Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie is fed up. In the comment he just left, he says he wants to launch a “Cyclist’s Civil Rights Movement” that addresses this and other issues:

“I’m spearheading a Cyclist’s Civil Right Movement so we can channel our frustrations into some directed sustained actions – that would include a large, legal and nonviolent bike ride protests starting next week (before the Thanksgiving Holidays date and time TBA) a press conference at the end or beginning of the ride to read a Cyclist Civil Rights and Responsibilites. and do a short state of the union.

We plan to demand enforcement, more education, more funding, a series of televised town halls on cyclist civil rights, a call to end the slogan Cars vs Bikes, an end to media outlets underreporting injuries and calling these collisons and crashes “accidents” a call for Officer Kruger’s transfer from traffic division….if it’s time to be the point person on rallying Portland to become a safer, stronger cycling friendly place, then so be it.”

Portland lawyer Chris Heaps is also not waiting around for something to be done. Heaps, who has enlisted the help of Kurmaskie and bike lawyer Ray Thomas, has already started a formal process to cite the driver in yesterday’s collision.

That process, known as “initiation of violation proceeding by private party”, was championed by Thomas and has been used successfully by several cyclists since Thomas worked to increase awareness of it back in 2006.

The process utilizes an existing law, ORS 153.058, and essentially allows any citizen to conduct an investigation, issue subpoenas for involved police officers to appear in court, and then make a presentation to a judge. From the ORS:

“A person other than an enforcement officer may commence a violation proceeding by filing a complaint with a court that has jurisdiction over the alleged violation.”

Heaps adds that,

“The PPB’s policy of not investigating or citing drivers who injure or kill cyclists is effectively sending the message that the City of Portland won’t punish traffic violations that make biking more dangerous in Portland. That’s totally inconsistent with the City’s stated policy of making Portland more bike-friendly.”

Following the two tragedies in October, the Police Bureau told the community that it is standard practice to not issue a moving violation citation when the collision involves a fatality (note that both cyclists were in the bike lane when hit). They said doing so would impede the District Attorney’s ongoing investigation.

Then, after yesterday’s non-fatal collision, the police also decided to not issue a citation.

Police Bureau spokesman Brian Schmautz said no citation was issued because the crash did not “meet the criteria for an investigation” and therefore no fault could be found (which means no citation). He also said that investigations are only performed (and citations issued) when the crash involves serious, trauma-level injuries.

Despite these statements from Schmautz, which have been repeated on this site and on TV and newspaper outlets, many people are not satisfied.

Clearly, based on how the community is responding, there seems to be an ongoing issue with how law enforcement personnel are handling these crashes (both in their communications to the media and their protocol).

The amount of anger, confusion, and frustration expressed by many Portlanders following these collisions is not a good thing for our city and it’s a barrier to moving forward that we simply cannot afford to leave as is.

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Comments
  • erin g. November 7, 2007 at 1:24 pm

    *CALL FOR ACTION*

    Does anyone else feel that it is time to TAKE ACTION in the form of a very BIG, BOLD, ORGANIZED DEMONSTRATION? Something unprecedented in numbers and impact? I cannot bear to read another report of inexcusable injury or death. I feel that something large and unified must be done. What do you all think?

    Ideas for Consideration

    Vision: Massive numbers of cyclists, community leaders, and friends/families/supporters assemble on the downtown streets as a unified group with shared goals:

    1) Raise awareness about critical shared-road safety protocol;
    2) Demand that cyclists\’ lives be valued and protected by drivers, the system, infrastructure, and by the authorities and their leadership (note: thank you to the many beat cops who do protect us; I\’ve experienced this first-hand and am grateful).

    We would also demand that protective measures and just protocol be swiftly determined and immediately implemented.

    While some media outlets still propagate counterproductive \”cars vs. bikes\” language and attitudes, we can take it upon ourselves to lead the way in educating and engaging those who must begin to listen, understand, and behave in a way that protects all who use the roads.

    Tactics: How could a large gathering make a strong statement to the public and press in an innovative and thought-provoking way? Let\’s brainstorm, perhaps looking at past movements in history that affected change as sources of inspiration. It would be great to do something beyond standard signage and a fill-the-streets ride.

    There are many talented artists in the bike community. Perhaps some might be willing to lend their creativity in coming up with a unique way to make the strongest possible statement via unified demonstration? Are there things that marchers/riders could wear, collectively carry, or pass out to onlookers, underscoring demonstration goals?

    Messaging: Signs would need to promote forward-moving messages about shared road safety while debunking common myths (i.e. some drivers think that bike commuters don\’t pay taxes toward infrastructure. Lord knows that the sums extracted from my paycheck don\’t go toward tubes and chain lube…). Messages would also need to promote mutual respect as opposed to doing anything that might potentially perpetuate further conflict and negativity between drivers, cyclists, and pedestrians.

    Bottom line: In order to reach the audiences that need to listen/understand, we must engage and educate them, carefully avoiding the possibility of inflaming or irritating them. Otherwise we are merely preaching to the choir as opposed to opening new eyes, prompting thought, and affecting the change that our safety depends upon.

    Outreach: How might grassroots networking ensure that a diverse group attends the demonstration, representing the many sectors of the cycling/bike commuting community, plus drivers and pedestrians who share our concerns and demand solutions?

    Timing: By planning a couple of weeks out rather than pulling something together on short notice, organizers would have time to avoid overlap with existing events, achieve maximal attendance, and promote/publicize well in advance.

    Code of conduct: It is critical that such an effort be conducted in a 100% dignified, respectable, and law-abiding manner. But one or two participants could tarnish the cause by doing something aggressive or illegal, as the t.v. media could turn cameras in their direction. All participants- no matter how diverse our views- would need to vow to approach this from a peaceful, unified front.

    Well, these are but ideas and possibilities from the limited perspective of one rider. What do you all think? Anyone interested in collectively organizing something of this sort? This online community is powerful and impressive, and in light of the recent tragedies and consequent actions/inactions, perhaps it is time to see just how powerful we could be live-and-in-person, out there on the street all at once, united by one vital cause.

    In the meantime, the letter-writing campaigns are a great idea. Great job, everyone.

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  • Mad as F'in hell November 7, 2007 at 1:29 pm

    When the police do not maintain law and order, the people take the law into their own hands. What other recourse is there. We can not all have attornies doing pro-bono efforts to go after a driver here and there.

    A couple of weeks ago a woman on a cell phone in a big lexus SUV almost ran over my wife. When I stopped her, she good give a rats ass. I felt like pulling out of the car. What should I have done if she had hit my wife. Would a jury convict me for dispensing justice, when there is a clear precident of the city not providing it.

    This issue is more than the last two fatalities. Remember the rider on Corneillus Pass. What was his life worth?

    Unless the city and state step up, this will get ugly.

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  • scott November 7, 2007 at 1:31 pm

    \”no citation was issued because the crash did not \’meet the criteria for an investigation\’ and therefore no fault could be found\”

    it\’s sickening to know that I could be sent to the hospital because of someone\’s witnessed negligence, and the police department would say it\’s not worth their time to hand out a citation.

    At the same time it\’s wonderful that Chris Heaps, Joe Kurmaskie,and Ray Thomas are taking it upon themselves to accomplish something the city\’s police department says it will not.

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  • Road Rage November 7, 2007 at 1:32 pm

    The most dangerous thing about the responses of the PPB to these incidents is the precedence that it sets for futer incidents and the message it send to motorists.

    I believe that most motorists understand the value of human life and don\’t want to harm anyone; so they are especially careful around pedestrians, cyclists, and other non-motorized users of the road. However there are a select, small, but loud few who will say \”if you\’re on the road and not in a car, it\’s your choice – *&%# you!\” This blatent disregard for the value of human life is only empowered, emboldened, and legitimized by the lack of action on these incidents.

    Hmmm…validation of willful disobedience of the laws by the police. They haven\’t thought of it like that, have they?

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  • ds November 7, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    Something needs to be done for all traffic. I drove to work this morning and was cut off by a variety of vehicles. I was just lucky that had they hit me, I was in my car. People need to calm down and make driving safer.

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  • Schrauf November 7, 2007 at 1:35 pm

    I totally understand the police do not have capacity to investigate every traffic crash, even when injuries are involved.

    But is it not common sense there should be a lower threshold to initiate investigation when a cyclist is involved? Not just because cyclists are more vulnerable to crashes with other vehicles, but because of the current state of heightened tension and apparent lack of knowledge by many motorists about when and how to yield to vehicles in bike lanes?

    If the police have time for seatbelt and other stings for educational purposes, they have time for investigating these crashes. Especially when there is more clearly potential total negligence on the part of the motoriest, as in the last non-fatal crash.

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  • N.I.K. November 7, 2007 at 1:36 pm

    Not to veer things too far off the path of the enforcement discussion, but this bit jumped out at me:

    Messaging: Signs would need to promote forward-moving messages about
    shared road safety while debunking common myths (i.e. some drivers
    think that bike commuters don\’t pay taxes toward infrastructure. Lord
    knows that the sums extracted from my paycheck don\’t go toward tubes
    and chain lube…).

    We need a set of coherent, verifiable talking points for this sort of crap. It invariably comes up almost EVERY time something bad goes down and cyclists raise a stink – some d-bag wanders in and makes remarks to the effect of \”maybe if you guys paid your way instead of freeloading there\’d be a reason to treat you with dignity/respect\”. I\’m sick of having to articulate all the ways we *do* pay, in turn pointing out the business of auto and oil industry subsidies, the notion of secondary and tertiary benefits present that are selectively ignored while others (\”yer damn bike CAME HERE ON A TRUCK!\” etc.) are fired against us, etc.

    We need a consistent means of addressing this, because it is only through consistent pushing of the truth that lies become recognized as lies. Anyone?

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  • Tim November 7, 2007 at 1:38 pm

    I don\’t think many folks actually see the legal distinction between a citation for a traffic violation and liability for any injury or other damage caused by it. They\’re certainly related (because a FTY citation establishes a preliminary fact that can be important to establish guilt or innocence in a proceeding related to the injury or death), but they are separate questions.

    The cops should do their jobs and issue traffic citations regardless, but if they do, a citation won\’t magically establish the ticketed driver\’s liability for the accident.

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  • hickeymad November 7, 2007 at 1:39 pm

    Is it my imagination, or are things getting more dangerous out there for us since the \”bikes-Vs-Cars\” story(s) in the local media. I\’ve been commuting in PDX awhile now and it seems like there are more people making PURPOSFULLY dangerous moves (swerving, making eye contact with a cyclist at an intersection who has the right of way and then rolling through the stop sign illegally anyway, moving to the right at a stoplight to block cycle-traffic (even over a bike lane)) in their cars or yelling, honking and flipping the finger at cyclists.

    I don\’t mean to sound paranoid, but it is starting to seem pretty ugly out there on my ride to and from work…

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  • Dennis November 7, 2007 at 1:42 pm

    EDUCATION is needed:

    Operating a motor vehicle is a privilege, Not a right. When someone signs their drivers license, they are agreeing to a CONTRACT. Bicycles, and pedestrians do not have to sign a contract to move about the city. Bicycles and pedestrians do have the right to the roads.

    When someone takes possession of a motor vehicle, they are responsible for what that vehicle does. Regardless of who made the mistake, there was a serious violation of the driver\’s contract. Let\’s make this really, really simple:

    Samual Adams, I\’d like to see legislation for the city of Portland as follows:

    Hit a pedestrian/bicycle, lose your license, forever
    Kill a pedestrian/bicyclist, lose your freedom, forever.

    I have to drive everyday, for my job. Because of this, I am liable for EVERYTHING that my motor vehicle does. There is no excuse for hitting someone. When I am on the road, by default, I yield my right of way to pedestrians, and bicycles. It is my responsibility to my community. It is the oath that I took, when I signed my drivers contract.

    I am willing to sign that contract, even with the legislation that I mentioned.

    thank you all, and please be careful out there. I\’ll watch your back.

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  • elaine November 7, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Thanks, Jonathan for helping to get the word out and for being a positive advocate for people that bike. The tireless proactive work that you are doing is having an impact. Thank you!!!

    I appreciated people\’s points of views in this forum as the other forums on this site

    The nature of my job does not always let me commute by bike everyday. I hope I can change that some day. Unfortunately, I always just assume that the driver does not see me, or will not yield to the right of way that I do have. I am extra aware and extra defensive when I am commuting.

    I have two new co workers from out of state start working in our office this year. In showing them the ropes, I was educating them about bicyclists, their rights on the road and their responsibilities as modes of transportation. Being from upstate New York and Michigan, they were unfamiliar with bike lanes, and the rights that cyclists had. They had no idea.

    I think the DMV ( when new folks move in to town) and our media ( TV and print) could also do a better job to EDUCATE drivers on a regular basis about the rules and rights cyclists do have. The media right now is only having a reactionary view. How about doing something that\’s proactive?

    Thanks again Jonathan for all that you do!!

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  • Elly November 7, 2007 at 1:50 pm

    Erin, a demonstration is just the thing! Who here would be willing and able to bring their bikes down to the Justice Center at noon on a weekday and ride our bikes safely, legally, and extremely visibly around the block?

    Nick, yes, we need talking points. And we need some to put on signs to start with. How about:

    – Not Second Class Citizens

    – Police: Enforce the Law, Don\’t Invent It

    – 5% of traffic and growing

    – Lt Kruger, Stop — You\’re Going to Get Us Killed

    – We\’re Not Blocking Traffic, We Are Traffic

    …not the most brilliant ensemble, I\’m sure you all can top that in your sleep What are your ideas?

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  • Stripes November 7, 2007 at 1:53 pm

    So what is the point of a law legally prohibiting motorists not to turn into bicyclists in a bike lane?

    Apparently, nothing.

    Sickening.

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 1:54 pm

    Erin,

    How many times are you going to cut and paste the same horrible idea onto this website?

    Massing is not the way to handle bicycle issues.

    It is however a good way to create many, many more, if that is what you are looking to do.

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  • Spencer November 7, 2007 at 1:57 pm

    Here is an email I just sent to Bicycling. Please bring as much pressure to bear. The city officials love the \”bike friendly city\” image. If the image is threatened there will be change.

    Dear Editors of Bicycling Magazine,

    My name is Spencer ______ and I live in Portland Oregon where I am a daily commuter. I have appreciated you magazine\’s role in promoting bicycling advocacy throughout the country and your specific recognition of Portland for its\’ supposed \”bike-friendliness\”. It is in this interest, that I ask you to take a look into the number of cycle related deaths that have been occuring on the street of Portland in the past few months. Much of this has been chronicled on Bikeportland.org.

    To be short, in the last month and a half, two cyclist have been killed and one has been severely injured by drivers who failed to yeild while executing right turns. In all instances, the local police deparment has failed to issue any citations indicating that the drivers were at fault. I urge you to learn more about this issue and report on it, especially since you have listed it as one of the top bicycling cities in the country. I am hoping by bringing both public and journalistic scrutiny to this issue, we can make Portland a safer palce for cyclist.

    Thank you for you attention,

    Spencer

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  • Anonymous November 7, 2007 at 1:59 pm

    I applaud those who are looking at approaching this with a legal protest – I promise you that any rides you do purposely to impede motorists will have an extremely negative effect on the issue – even with the most patient motorists.

    I assume that some of you also drive cars and walk. I believe there is a bigger picture here that has not to do with just Bicycle/cars, but Cars/Cars and cars/pedestrians and bicycles/pedestrians.

    As a pedestrian I have been hit by a car once. I have been hit by a cyclist once, and nearly hit two other times in the last week, while I was on the sidewalk downtown no less. As a motorist I have been nearly hit by cars on several occasions, fully hit once and was the cause of the accident once.

    Transportation is a huge mess in this city – it would probably behoove us all to approach it from a \”Let\’s make this better for everyone\” stance.

    That means looking at what really makes sense.

    -Does it make sense for one vehicle to have to turn across a lane of through traffic? This may be ok in most cirucumstances if the driver turning looks, but I have great fears about it especially at night or in inclement weather. Being \”Ok\” most of the time isn\’t good enough.

    -Does it make sense for anyone – pedestrian, cyclist, motorist to be allowed to break the law? No!

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  • Stripes November 7, 2007 at 2:01 pm

    Writing to Bicycling Magazine is a great idea! I intend to do the same.

    I will also be writing a letter to the Commissioner, the Mayor, the DMV, and the Portland Police Bureau.

    And while it\’s easy to get heated and inflammatory on an anonymous website (myself included, every now and then!) it\’s important when writing to public officials to be polite, coherant, and to state your case factually, accurately, and concisely.

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  • N.I.K. November 7, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    No specific ideas just yet, Elly, but I\’m thinking it\’s important to avoid any messages that frame things in a reductive \”good guys/bad guys\” context, or at least, such a context where cyclists are setup as the shining crusaders of truth while motorists are the dastardly skulking villains of the piece. Your examples don\’t do that at all, but there\’s a substantial amount of pride in the community, and it\’s important to keep it in check a bit. Push the actual message and get attention without the brand of pomposity that frames the lot of us as a bunch of easily-ridiculed players of small violins, you know? :)

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  • a.O November 7, 2007 at 2:02 pm

    If you want to see a concrete example of how the current PPB policy constitutes an anti-cycling bias, check out this story at KATU\’s website:

    http://www.katu.com/news/local/10793876.html

    It tells the story of a recent collision downtown between a cyclist and a motorist. The cyclist, according to the PPB, \”was not badly hurt.\” The driver was not injured at all.

    The outcome? The cyclist \”was cited for driving the wrong way on a one-way street and failure to obey a traffic control device.\”

    How does this square with the PPB\’s policy of not issuing a citation unless someone is admitted to the trauma unit of an ER?

    Seems to me like the real policy is: Cite a cyclist who breaks a law, but ignore drivers who break laws, even if they send the cyclist to the hospital in the process.

    Disgraceful.

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  • K November 7, 2007 at 2:08 pm

    I hope they don\’t pay a dime toward another streetcar before they workout safety on the transit options we already have.

    1) Feet – I can barely walk across the street on SE Belmont & 47th because cars RARELY stop. Where is the education about and enforcement of our current laws? I read about a campaign that is supposed to cover that but haven\’t seen anything yet.

    2) Bike – There needs to be a huge wave of change in the handling of bike/car accidents. Others have stated the case better than I could. I would love to have a business cards printed up with information on how our roads are paid for and the legal rights of bicyclists. Those would sure get some use from me.

    3) Cars – It is way too easy to get and keep a driver\’s license. When I moved here, I didn\’t study but passed the Oregon test easily. Whether that\’s testament to my brains or the ease of the test, I don\’t know. It\’s ridiculous that you don\’t have to be retested very often, written nor behind the wheel. Consequences would be great too. I believe the majority of people have a disgusting sense of entitlement when it comes to their ability to drive a car. If it were harder to attain and keep that privelege (a term that is losing its meaning), perhaps it wouldn\’t be taken for granted.

    4) Mass transit – I ride it almost every day and think it\’s reasonable, but if I think about if my mother were to visit and want to ride the MAX out of the city limits, I\’d be very nervous. Fare checks and security are a joke. I\’ve not experienced any serious problems myself, but the area I ride in is pretty limited.

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  • Paul November 7, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    Send that letter to the NY Times!

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  • Klixi November 7, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    I guarantee nothing will be done about this and nothing will change. Not because that\’s what I want to happen, but because we live in America, not Amsterdam. No matter how logical of an argument cyclists present, the cars will always win in the eyes of the law in the U.S. It\’s just the culture here, sadly.

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  • Aaron November 7, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    I would encourage any massive rally to focus on the term \”vulnurable roadway users\” rather than specificaly bicyclists. Everyone is a vulnurable user whether a child riding in the neighborhood on a bike, walking from your car across the street to a store, or cycling to work. We need as much support as possible without internal bickering.
    Also I would really appreciate if any rally were at 5pm (rush hour) rather than at noon. You have my full support.

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  • Tim November 7, 2007 at 2:10 pm

    a.O (#19) …

    I\’m missing the part in that story where the driver did anything wrong. I don\’t see bias in this story. I see a biker going the wrong way on a one-way street AND running a red light, and getting cited for it.

    Asking for the PBB to do its job should not involve pointing to where they did the right thing in some circumstances.

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  • Joe November 7, 2007 at 2:14 pm

    On Wilsonville today road cars turn right in front of me, or try to turn
    into my rear wheel.. oh and t-bone
    why? rage maybe.

    I really hope people see we just want
    to ride instead of drive an Auto all over.

    Joe

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  • Ron November 7, 2007 at 2:15 pm

    FWIW, excerpts from a letter I sent to Adams yesterday:

    Commissioner Adams, I am writing you, I suspect like many others today, in
    reference to the cyclist being hit at the intersection of Interstate
    and Greely this morning.

    This spot is on my every day commute to work, I know it well, and I am
    an every day commuter, driving my car perhaps 4 times a month at the
    most (weekends only, never to work).

    First, I appreciate the conversation you are facilitating after the
    horrible deaths of Tracey and Brett. I believe you to be an honorable
    man and a good citizen. I appreciate your work to create better and
    safer conditions for motorist and cyclist alike.

    However, and I say this as emphatically as possible – I will not vote
    for you unless you speak very clearly on the fact that Tracey and
    Brett were killed by drivers breaking clearly stated Oregon laws —
    and I want to hear you say that those drivers at the very least should
    be cited under those ordinances. Our police force is not protecting
    the cyclists of this city, and is NOT sending a message that we are an
    important and vulnerable user of our infrastructure, and are protected
    by clear laws.

    Planning for the future is all well and good, and necessary — but
    right now we have 3 drivers who have clearly broken the law, resulting
    in two deaths, and have to date not even been cited with a simple,
    relevant traffic violation — our police officials have in many cases
    tried to implicate the cyclists in their own deaths, when they were
    doing NOTHING wrong.
    .
    .
    .
    I am literally begging you to please speak out about the injustice of
    the deaths of Tracey and Brett. Please. I am not asking you to attack
    motorists. But if you can\’t speak out for those who were killed by
    illegal acts, I honestly can\’t trust you to deal with the more mundane
    concerns of the Mayor\’s office.

    Respectfully,

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  • Bearhat November 7, 2007 at 2:17 pm

    Agreed with Dabby #14

    A massive group of frustrated cyclists together isn\’t going to make things better. You know that thing called Critical Mass? Not effective, move on. Lets not create anymore animosity where there is little room to spare.

    Educate people, drivers and bicyclists. Know the rules of the road and how to ride with one another. Share it, not own it.

    And just slow down. People that are plowing through the streets are on a mission. Maybe to get to dinner, pick up the kids or watch their favorite TV show. Is it worth taking a few lives on the way because you happened to not be paying attention to your blind spot or paraded through the streets without the extra caution that there may be a cyclist or dog walker nearby?

    I sure as hell hope not.

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  • tom November 7, 2007 at 2:19 pm

    In light of the failure of the Portland Police to issue citations to drivers who have recently killed cyclists in this city, I have filed a complaint against Lt. Krueger to the Independent Police Review Division.

    Their mission is to \”help improve police accountability, promote higher standards of police services, and increase public confidence.\”

    I don\’t know what good it will do, but I encourage others to do the same. Here is the URL:

    http://www.bit.ci.portland.or.us/IPR/ccintake.cfm

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 2:20 pm

    Disgraceful is exactly the way to describe the actions of a percentage of the Portland Police dept. ( I know there are some very good officers employed by the PPB, and I applaud them)

    And is definitely the way to describe their policies, and the practical application of them.

    The real issue is, as we all know, shi#
    runs downhill.

    We need to start at the top, ie Potter, Rosie Sizer, and begin to take out the broken pieces. Then replace them with stable building blocks, so as to prevent future erosion of the system put in effect to supposedly protect us all.

    While I applaud Sam Adams for somethings he has done, especially very recently, he has been involved in the broken system for ten years now?

    Does this not include him as a big part of the problem? He seemed to be heavily involved in the Vera problem. Now we have the Potter problem….

    Why is it just now he is trying to stand tall?

    These are questions that must be answered before we jump on the band wagon and elect another mayor long before the ballots are handed out, as happened basically with Potter. (I admit, I was on that bandwagon myself, and am horrified at my mistake)

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  • k. November 7, 2007 at 2:24 pm

    Here is the text of an email I just sent to Sam Adams:
    —————————-
    Sam,

    First, I\’d like to commend you for taking quick action
    regarding the recent deaths of two cyclists and the
    injury of a third just a couple of days ago. I truly
    believe you are dedicated to a safer City and a bike
    friendly one.

    I\’d also like to add my voice to the increasing calls
    that more be done regarding the callous way the
    Portland Police Bureau (PPB)seems to be handling these
    incidents. The PPB seems to be completely out of step
    with the rest of the City on making cycling part of
    our progressive agenda. They seem to working against
    that in fact.

    It\’s time to demand a change in the policies and
    practices that the PPB uses in handling cycling
    accidents. I\’d like to start by demanding the removal
    of Mark Krueger as the Traffic Division\’s spokesman.
    His ignorant and callous remarks during the recent
    incidents have done nothing but inflame the cycling
    community and many others. He needs to go.

    I\’d also like to demand that the PPB start citing and
    investigating serious accidents that involve cyclists
    and autos. By virtually ignoring these incidents, the
    PPB is sending the message that they just don\’t care.
    It\’s an outrage quite frankly. And of course by citing
    I fully mean that cyclists should be cited as well for
    egregious behavior. I hope I don\’t need to point out
    that doesn\’t mean running stop sign stings in Ladd\’s
    addition?

    Please, let\’s have some balance brought to the Police
    Bureau. If some progress in this is not made soon, I
    predict things are going to get ugly out there.
    ————————————–

    I agree that anger misdirected is not likely to help our cause. But I\’m also convinced that healthy anger and action well directed can be a good thing. There\’s a place for radicals in every society. I think maybe it\’s time for them to come to the fore front of ours.

    k.

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  • kg November 7, 2007 at 2:26 pm

    Tim #24:

    What your missing is the double standard. Yes the cyclist broke the law and should be cited. The question is if no citations are issued unless there is a serious injury (but apparently NOT a death) then why was one issued here? Do you really not understand that?

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  • erin g. November 7, 2007 at 2:33 pm

    Dabby, I fully respect your views, including your opting to disagree with mine. If you do not agree that assembly and solidarity has the power to profoundly affect social change, I encourage you to read up on the Selma Marches, NY\’s Gay Rights Movement, lunch counter sit-ins, jail-ins, the Women\’s Rights Movement, draft card burning, and as grand a comparison it might seem, the March on Washington. Why do you feel that assembly would hinder rather than further cyclist\’s demands for justice, protection, and shared- road rights? If done with dignity, creativity, and solidarity, it would work.

    To those comparing the proposed demonstration ideas that I framed to critical mass, you might not have read my post thoroughly. The demonstration would NOT be like critical mass: it would include pedestrians, friends of cyclists, families, etc…. not just “frustrated cyclists.” I spoke about the importance of diversity within the crowd of attendees. Please take the time revisit the full concept, as opposed to assuming that it matches preexisting ideas about demonstrations.

    This would be something new. Something powerful. It would be what WE make of it. So, we can either claim defeat in advance, or we can choose to take the lead on this and work hard on all possible fronts until the desired changes are affected. Assembly is one of the most powerful tactics in the history of human movements. I am sorry that some people in modern America disagree, and that speaks volumes about the sort of society that we live in today. But I believe in Portland. I believe that most of us would be on board if we do this the right way, and that many would join in on making it a powerful success.

    Let’s stop talking about problems and lets join together in taking a concrete, forward-moving, hands-on approach to achieving the solutions that we need and deserve.

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  • Tim November 7, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    kg (#31) …

    I think you might be reading a bit too much into my response. Believe me, it\’s hard to miss the double standard. But that story doesn\’t convey it, to me. It\’s simply a story, and carries no bias by itself. I see it as an example of behavior (PPB correctly issues a citation) that should be encouraged.

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  • DO November 7, 2007 at 2:36 pm

    Tim #24,

    If I can step in here, the point I take from A.O.\’s comment (#19) is that the police will FREELY cite a cyclist for violating a law, but WILLFULLY DECLINE to cite a motorist when they do the same.

    The standard is not being evenly applied. That\’s unacceptable.

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  • kg November 7, 2007 at 2:37 pm

    Tim:
    Agreed!

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  • Metal Cowboy November 7, 2007 at 2:38 pm

    Joe Kurmaskie again. I\’m taking on the job with Chris and Ray filing the citation violation.

    But I also write for Bicycling Magazine, among other outdoor type publications as well as have a syndicated bicycling column that reaches 1.3 million around the country each month. I will highlight all the happenings in my column next month.

    I am pitching a growing pains in the Platinum status Bike Friendly city of portland type article to the editors … Bill Strickland, Steve M and the crew over there. I\’m in the middle of writing a cover story for them so I have their ear.

    What I could use is a heap of emails and letters to the editors of the magazine regarding all the issues we are dealing with in the friendliest bike city in america and that a thoroughly investigated piece about the issues should be done – one that frames it so other communites can read and learn and get proactive – It will help get the story on the editorial slate whether I get the assignment or not. Incidentally, I will donate all profits made on the article to help cover law related expenses on the citation filing and the rest to BikePortland.org.

    I\’m also spearheading a Cyclist\’s Civil Right Movement so we can channel our frustrations into some directed sustained actions – that would include a large, legal and nonviolent bike ride protests starting next week ( before the Thanksgiving Holidays date and time TBA) a press conference at the end or beginning of the ride to read a Cyclist Civil Rights and Responsibilites. and do a short state of the union. We plan to demand enforcement, more education, more funding, a series of televised town halls on cyclist civil rights, a call to end the slogan Cars vs Bikes, an end to media outlets underreporting injuries and calling these collisons and crashes \”accidents\” a call for Officer Kruger\’s transfer from traffic division. A call to politicans to act fast and decisively on danger spots around portland. I\’d like everyone who wants to get involved contact me and to give their ideas of what else they\’d like to see in this CCRR proclamation. Let\’s see if we can assemble thousands of cyclists for this – the faces of Portland – messengers to families to mountain bikers. I\’m shooting for an after work or weekend protest and press conference. I spent my 20s touring the world by bike while working for nonprofits giving voice and solutions to help the poor, the defenseless and championing sustainable practices – if it\’s time to be the point person on rallying Portland to become a safer, stronger cycling friendly place, then so be it.

    email me at metalcowboy@metalcowboy.com or call 503 239 6985

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  • disgraceful November 7, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    Dear Sam Adams,

    Thank you for staging a photo op while closing a street. Thanks for rallying a bunch of city insiders and media for a big public show, then doing.. Nothing.

    Thanks for doing your best to get your face associated with bicycles, while not actually doing anything to help.

    In short, good job! You are behaving exactly like a politician, and I now know that I should not let you anywhere near the Mayors seat. Oh yeah, I vote.

    Keep up the good work!

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  • psyclist November 7, 2007 at 2:41 pm

    Tom #28

    I was just looking at that myself and was also thinking of filing a citizens complaint. I am curious as to what you included in the complaint. Was it against just Kruger, or the whole traffic division? Did you cite media quotes, or witnesses etc…

    Anything you\’d like to share about your complaint would be great. I plan on filing one and sending copies to the media, commissioners and mayor. It\’d be great if they received hundreds of complaints on this.

    Thanks

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  • Els November 7, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    I say we put together a ride through downtown….Im willing to make a website for information, front for posters to post in various bike shops, im also a PSU student so getting in contact with PSU bike club, etc. Don\’t wait for media to get to us, lets go to them. We could even end up in front of the police station. (Dressing up as injured bicyclists/signs etc)

    Contact me at pdxvaa@gmail.com if anyone is interested.

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  • kg November 7, 2007 at 2:47 pm

    Regarding the KATU story that is referenced above, I asked the Mayors office about this and was told,

    \”The news got it wrong. I confirmed this morning that the bicyclist was not cited.

    Regards,
    Jeremy Van Keuren
    Public Advocate
    Office of Mayor Tom Potter
    Portland, Oregon
    \”

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  • Tim November 7, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    I get it, DO (#34), but I appreciate your clarification. I don\’t think I communicated my point properly. If I see a double standard, I\’ll fight it by focusing on examples of incorrect behavior (not issuing citations in the recent tragedies) rather than pointing an accusatory finger at examples of correct behavior.

    And … also, I confess that a double standard isn\’t a foregone conclusion to me in this case. First off, I don\’t have enough data showing that cyclists don\’t get a citation if someone is injured as a result of their infraction as often as drivers do. Second, from personal experience, even though I\’ve seen \”stings\” during which a spate of citations are issued to a series of cyclists running a stop sign, I\’ve seen just as many instances where a watching cop does nothing.

    Look: I agree there\’s a problem. The way I fight it is to look only at what I perceive to be relevant to the problem, rather than bringing in what I see as extraneous circumstances. I\’m on the side that wants to see this resolved, even if I see a different route to the solution.

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  • brettoo November 7, 2007 at 2:52 pm

    It\’s great to see so many good people taking the initiative when the police won\’t. But we shouldn\’t have to. The failures to enforce the law against bad drivers, coupled with the \”blame the victim\” statements of the police spokesman, need to be addressed in the larger context of police anti-bike rider attitudes as described on this site over the past year or more. And that needs to be dealt with by specific actions by elected officials along with public protests etc. So we need the BTA or someone to draw up a specific list of ordinance changes, policy changes (e.g. prioritizing resources away from stings against harmless bike riders and toward prosecuting negligent drivers, police education classes, etc.), and personnel actions into a five or six point Law Enforcement Safety Reform plan — then put all the city council and mayor candidates on the spot and ask them which points they will support if they win office. Then we should endorse and work on behalf of those who will commit to the most specific actions demanded. Any ideas?

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  • Lisa November 7, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    Here\’s the response I got from the mayor\’s office:

    If there is no fatality in a collision (bicycle or other), an investigation is undertaken only if there is a traumatic injury involved. The responding paramedic, not the responding officer, determines whether or not a traumatic injury is involved. In the collision yesterday, that is the determination the paramedic made, and so, no investigation will take place. If there is no investigation, there will be no citation issued (unless an officer happens to witness the collision her or himself). When there is no traumatic injury, it is a CIVIL issue, and the police do not get involved except to ensure that insurance information is exchanged.

    Thank you, again, for emailing. Let me know if you have further questions.

    Sincerely,
    Jeremy Van Keuren
    Public Advocate
    Office of Mayor Tom Potter
    Portland, Oregon
    503-823-4125
    jvankeuren@ci.portland.or.us

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  • Michael R November 7, 2007 at 2:58 pm

    He [Police Bureau spokesman Brian Schmautz] also said that investigations are only performed (and citations issued) when the crash involves serious, trauma-level injuries.

    WTF? Broken bones don\’t qualify? A trip to the emergency room doesn\’t qualify? Police will issue a citation for running a red light or failure to stop at a stop sign when no injury occurs. Why is failure to yield held to a different standard?

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  • bahueh November 7, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    the response from the mayor\’s office does still NOT explain why both truck drivers who actually KILLED someone were not cited…un-freaking-believable..

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  • DO November 7, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Regarding the response of the mayor\’s office given in #43 (and thanks for posting that):

    Hypothetically if a driver ran a red light and hit another automobile, but there were no traumatic injuries (but the driver proceeding legally did go to the ER on a stretcher) and an officer did not witness the accident (but other bystanders did), would no citations be issued?

    Seems unlikely to me. But is it true?

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  • kg November 7, 2007 at 3:09 pm

    Lisa #43
    I received the same response after my initial inquiry. After a follow question I was told the Cyclist wasn\’t cited. So at this point the PPB policy is clear and it is my belief that the policy needs to be adjusted. One of the elements of the policy seems to be that the police have to personally witness the infraction to issue a citation. That needs to change. If it is clear that an infraction occurred then a citation should be issued.

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  • Ramona Heights November 7, 2007 at 3:15 pm

    Isn\’t this the frustration that sparked Critical Mass in the first place (SF, PDX and elsewhere)? CM seemed like a Cyclist\’s Civil Rights protest to me. It was met by Vera\’s heavy-handed cops and squashed.
    I know Dabby will get his knickers in a twist over even mentioning CM but it seems like it\’s time for one.

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  • Michael R November 7, 2007 at 3:17 pm

    Re: #44

    After a moment of reflection, and a moment for my anger to grow, I sent the following to The Oregonian, Mayor Potter and Commissioner Sam Adams. It\’s a first action to take, following the many fine ideas listed above. Consider contacting your local paper of record and elected offices NOW.

    Regarding the collision that sent Siobhan Doyle to the hospital with broken bones.

    Police Bureau spokesman Brian Schmautz is reported to have said that
    investigations are only performed (and citations issued) when the crash involves
    serious, trauma-level injuries.

    What is going on here? Broken bones don\’t qualify? A trip to the emergency room
    doesn\’t qualify?

    Police will issue a citation for running a red light or failure to stop at a stop
    sign when no injury occurs. In the not too distant past jaywalking would garner
    someone a ticket. Why is failure to yield held to a different standard?

    The actions of Lisa Wheeler were observed by witnesses and clearly violated ORS
    811.050, failure to yield to rider on bicycle lane. And yet again Portland
    Police issued no citation.

    What will it take to get our police to issue citations for this offense that is
    killing and hospitalizing people?

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 3:22 pm

    erin g.

    My point,

    It does not matter if you are going out to do something different.

    In case you have not noticed, in Portland, what appears to be the majority does not have the ability to differentiate between a critical mass, or what your are trying to describe. (which, I am sorry,but is a Critical Mass) (no matter how you slice it, it is a bad idea)
    They do not even have the ability to see that a broken clavicle and shoulder, or even death, is a serious injury.

    I completely understand that what you would \”like\” to have happen is something other than a Critical Mass.

    I am well versed in protests, and the effectiveness of some of them.

    It is also the case that many of them do more bad than good. Much more.

    Yet, as a long term, full time, as in all day, every day, cyclist in our city, I am very well versed in the problems that anything even remotely resembling a Mass cycling event causes.

    I could give you a long list of reasons why it is a bad idea, and why, no matter how hard you try, it will do more harm to cycling in our city than good.

    It pains me that people cannot see the reality in this, and continue blindly forward with such bad ideas.

    The combination of bad enforcement by police, bad journalism, and bad decision making by cyclists, will (and by the way, already has) compound our problems way beyond even what we have now.

    I believe the intentions with what you wrote are pure, I just do not think that you either are really looking at the big picture, or even coming close to thinking outside the box.

    I, by the way, am looking at the box from many angles.

    From inside the box, since, as I have been a cyclist for 37 years. At least 15 of them professionally, on downtown city streets.

    From outside the box, as I love German sports cars, and actually drive them. (though not for the last year +)

    And from across the street, watching the box roll moronically by, as an open minded citizen, who has seen and felt personally for many years the repercussion from events exactly like the one you describe, yet claim to be trying not to reproduce.

    It is a great feeling sometimes to jump right on that bandwagon. Everyone on it is with you, and together, you all feel as one.

    It is quite another to ride that bandwagon as it rolls right over the top of the real problems, smashing them down low enough to where they are not even recognizable.

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  • Lenny Anderson November 7, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    If the City wants more people to bike, its policies must make riding legally safe. Today it is not as the recent slaughter has demonstrated.
    Commissioner Adams as begun to address the engineering side of the matter…more paint, more signs.
    It is the Mayor who must address the enforcement side and issue orders to his police chief that all traffic enforcement resources will be applied to vehicle violations that put citizens at risk…i.e. motor vehicle violations. The education piece must also be directed at those who control vehicles that put life and limb at risk.
    Ride a bike, and you get instant training on how to survive…Trust no Car, Be seen, and for me the new one…keep out of at risk situations by whatever means necessary, legal or otherwise.
    I hope the Mayor is listening…time for some house cleaning at the PPB\’s Traffic Division.

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  • Elly November 7, 2007 at 3:37 pm

    Hi Dabby,
    You said you think some demonstrations do a good job. What\’s the difference between good and bad demonstrations, to your mind? Your recommendations, please.

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  • Klixi November 7, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    You really think Sam Adams will do anything other than stage public photo-ops and media-friendly meetings? He\’s running for Mayor, and most of those votes he needs will come from drivers (ie the majority). Like I said, I guarantee nothing will change. Sadly.

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  • tonyt November 7, 2007 at 3:44 pm

    Michael #49,

    I think why cops give tickets in the one instance and not the other comes down to their sense of power.

    When the cops see someone do something and choose to respond, they are at the top of the food chain, so to speak. They are the \”predator.\”

    It gives them a thrill to swoop in and alter someone\’s day. They get to preach and berate and otherwise say things that they would never say in normal circumstances (speaking from personal exerience).

    When there\’s an accident, their role has changed. They are told to respond, and under those circumstances it\’s harder to feel powerful.

    So what do they do? They exercise the power that they do have. \”Want me to write a ticket? Too bad.\”

    Anything they do, they want to do on their terms.

    My armchair psychology for what it\’s worth.

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  • N.I.K. November 7, 2007 at 3:46 pm

    Hey, remember me talking about that inevitable \”you guys don\’t pay squat\” B.S.? It\’s happening again: http://www.commissionersam.com/node/2984

    See the second comment. Please chime in! I\’m a bit too exhausted and wrapped up in work stuff ATM to string together a carefully-considered dispelling of the untruth presented by this T. Cox fellow…

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    The difference is the proven effect after the fact.

    The proven effect of Critical Mass style protest, as you \”Do\” describe, whether you like it or not, has been more negative than positive.

    This is a fact.

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  • tom November 7, 2007 at 3:47 pm

    psyclist #38

    My complaint was directed to Mark Krueger and the entire Traffic Division. I cited the incident that killed Brett Jarolimek.

    Here is a copy of my complaint:

    \”A cyclist was killed at the intersection of N. Greeley and Interstate by a driver of a garbage truck who was making an illegal right turn across a marked bike lane. My complaint is that no citations were issued in this incident.

    My understanding is that the mission of the IPRD is \”help improve police accountability, promote higher standards of police services, and increase public confidence.\”

    I believe there is a serious lack of accountability in the traffic division of the PPB, and as a cyclist in this city, I have lost confidence in them to protect me.\”

    I plan of filing another complaint about the traffic violation that killed Tracey Sparling, and every other incident where an at-fault motorist kills or injures a cyclist and no citation is issued.

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  • G.A.R. November 7, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    OK. I complained to the bureau about the lack of enforcement.

    How much better it would be if the police were cyclists. Wait — they are! But they get special treatment.

    Now and then you\’ll see a police car in a non-emergency situation resort to lights and siren simply to get through a red light. Not too common — usually they wait for the green, at least in my neighborhood. But the bike cops downtown ALWAYS ride on sidewalks. Note that riding on sidewalks downtown is unlawful for the rest of us.

    I\’d like it if it were a lot less frequently that bike cops took to the sidewalk. Maybe the bureau would have a different attitude.

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 3:52 pm

    Elly,

    Sorry I was answering your question, but used the wrong wording, as you did not describe what I was referring to.

    Your question was good though. I hope my short but sweet answer was enough.

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  • a.O November 7, 2007 at 3:58 pm

    The proven effect of Critical Mass style protest … has been more negative than positive. This is a fact.

    No, dude, that\’s an OPINION. Here\’s an example of a fact so you can see the difference:

    People in motor vehicles are killing cyclists on the streets of Portland.

    Opinion:

    If we, the cyclists of Portland, don\’t do something about the way our government handles traffic violations and crimes that result in cyclist injuries and deaths, those deaths and injuries are going to become more common.

    See the difference?

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 4:02 pm

    Sorry A.O.

    But it is a fact.

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  • Michael R November 7, 2007 at 4:08 pm

    What is traumatic?

    Jeremy Van Keuren of Mayor Potter\’s office had a quick response to my message (see #49)

    If there is no fatality in a collision (bicycle or other), an investigation is undertaken only if there is a traumatic injury involved. The responding paramedic, not the responding officer, determines whether or not a traumatic injury is involved. In the collision yesterday, that is the determination the paramedic made, and so, no investigation will take place. If there is no investigation, there will be no citation issued (unless an officer happens to witness the collision her or himself). When there is no traumatic injury, it is a CIVIL issue, and the police do not get involved except to ensure that insurance information is exchanged.

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  • David Dean November 7, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Elly @ 52,

    The ability of the otherwise unaffected person to relate with the demonstrators. That has a lot to do with presentation and press coverage.

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  • Michael R November 7, 2007 at 4:13 pm

    Tony T. (#53)

    I don\’t see it as a power issue. If they officer is an eye witness they can ticket. If not the bar is raised higher because them must do an investigation.

    The bar is too high.

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  • Elly November 7, 2007 at 4:17 pm

    Dabby, I know you\’ve come by your cynicism honestly, but give us young idealistic fools a chance too, okay?

    I\’m not really satisfied with the form and effect of Critical Mass. What I propose is more like a Super Legal event (with apologies for shamelessly quoting myself).

    I think the difference is substantial. We can\’t just look at things from the PR perspective of \”every time a motorist is annoyed with a bicyclist it hurts the whole community.\” The whole point is, some people, including some people in power, are always going to be annoyed at the use of bikes on the roadway. You\’ve got to see the difference between pandering to that and making a strong, effective statement.

    My vision is that for a few blocks downtown, bicyclists become traffic for an hour. Not just a parade like Critical Mass, but actual traffic, filling the road. If we\’re in the way, we\’re no more in the way than the crowd of people who converge twice a day to drive around en masse in cars and trucks.

    We\’ll have signs to let people know what we\’re doing, and we\’ll converge at some point, in front of City Hall or the police bureau to inform our public officials and remind the community that cyclists\’ rights are everyone\’s rights.

    I won\’t expect to see you there Dabby, but I\’ll look forward to hearing your after-the-fact analysis.

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 4:18 pm

    David,

    What you stated is true, and certainly helps to prove my point.

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  • Elly November 7, 2007 at 4:23 pm

    David, really good point. Any ideas on how to productively engage the public/passersby on these issues?

    We could take some pages from the \”…And we bike\” campaign. Traffic issues really do affect everyone.

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 7, 2007 at 4:30 pm

    RE: slogans

    what do you all think of this – \”We\’re all traffic\”

    it\’s sort of a mix between the old CM refrain of \”we are traffic\” (yet it\’s more inclusive) and the idea behind the \”And we bike\” campaign.

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  • N.I.K. November 7, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    That\’s a great start, Jonathan. It\’s not exclusionary in the slightest. Perfect. Now we just need contexts in which to present it which reinforce that aspect of the message.

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 4:39 pm

    Elly,

    I do understand, once again, the \”intention\” of such a thing.

    But, being traffic is the right thing to do when riding alone, or as the law states, (I believe, I am not referencing anything for this info) riding two abreast within one lane.

    But even a hundred, or Erin\’s described thousands, is not being traffic. It is clogging traffic, manipulating traffic, and no matter how Super Legal you would like it to be, is not.

    Let alone the logistics of getting every one on the ride to stop, legally, at every light and stop sign. Or give proper right of way to other vehicles, pedestrians, etc.

    And, since you used the term Super Legal yourself, there is a ordinance that pertains to how many times a \”vehicle\” (bikes are still considered vehicles, correct?) may go around a block, within a certain time frame. (this brought on by the cruising days of past)

    Now, I believe that you yourself have worked on the streets in Portland as a messenger, and have, maybe even unknowingly, had to deal with the repercussions of \”clogging\” events. (A clogging event, no matter how disguised, is also what this big \”super legal\” ride would be, or become)

    For it is, and has been, the nemesis, and for a long time, the cause of increased attention and citations, to the working cyclists. (of which I admittedly, since being right hooked by a car in 2006, and still have pain from, am no longer able to myself)

    And, as some of us realize, the effect on the working cyclist in turn becomes an effect on all cyclists within the city over time.

    This time frame has been drastically reduced as the ridership in Portland rapidly increases.

    I do not expect many here or anywhere to fully understand, or agree, with what I am writing.

    But, as I do understand it, and the effects of such actions, I feel it is my responsibility to the City of Portland and all of it\’s cycling and walking and driving citizens, to point this out.

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 4:42 pm

    By the way, Jonathan and Elly,

    I appreciate the ability to use this public forum for us all to get our thoughts and views heard, and or read, as it may be.

    Thank You.

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  • a.O November 7, 2007 at 4:43 pm

    But even a hundred, or Erin\’s described thousands, is not being traffic. It is clogging traffic, manipulating traffic, and no matter how Super Legal you would like it to be, is not.

    Once again, you\’ve confused fact with opinion. Such a ride can be done legally.

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  • Cøyøte November 7, 2007 at 4:45 pm

    Why not reverse critical mass? Have cyclists group together in small groups of 5-10 all over the city and travel to a central location like city hall. That way the rest of traffic is not disrupted, but the weight of our numbers are shown.

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  • tonyt November 7, 2007 at 4:48 pm

    Michael #63,

    I\’ll meet you in the middle, somewhere between your explanation and mine.

    Too many nasty experiences with the PPB to be too generous.

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  • Daisy November 7, 2007 at 4:55 pm

    It seems that Erin and Elly are attempting to come up with some solutions, instead of more complaints about the problem. Perhaps their suggestions are naive and Dabby is right to be cynical. And I admit that I don\’t have the \”right\” answer about how to get our voices heard in an effective way. (In fact, I\’m new to this whole thing and so feel genuinely unsure about how to best proceed.) I am, however, outraged by recent events and ready to help out, starting with a willingness to hear others out and help generate some ideas.

    Dabby on the other hand, seems eager to shoot others down, but fails to generate another, more mature and effective solution despite his extensive examination of the inside and outside of the box.

    For my part, I agree that an organized ride is only likely to anger motorists and create more animosity. I like the idea of an organized gathering in the interest of \”vulnerable road users,\” perhaps one that does not involve interfering with motorists? I also agree that we need a spokesperson who can interact effectively with the media. (Jonathan?…) I also suggest that any gathering not happen during the day, when many of us are working and cannot attend.

    Maybe we need a brainstorming meeting? I sincerely hope Dabby will come and share his wisdom….

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  • Caoimhin November 7, 2007 at 4:57 pm

    Just out of curiosity, what is the PPB\’s track record when it comes handing out citations to motorists injuring pedestrians? Also, were any of the drivers who were involved in collisions with cyclists ever given sobriety tests?

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  • Lance Lindahl November 7, 2007 at 4:58 pm

    I still think that the real issue here is the clear need for more traffic enforcement officers enforcing the existing rules of the road. This issue is not limited to just bicyclist safety. The safety of pedestrians and even other drivers is just as important.

    The crosswalk I use everyday on SE McLoughlin has become largely unusable thanks to the high number of drivers cutting accross parking lots, making illegal turns, failing to stop, making illegal u-turns, and people using the sidewalk as either a turn lane or a passing lane.

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 5:06 pm

    Daisy,

    Hmmmm. I do like what you had to say. Very good.

    I must say that I am not \”shooting down\” ideas persay, but pointing out obvious flaws.

    In order to take care of the problems we have, we need to do it right.

    These problems appear to be:

    1. Motorists, and sometimes cyclists, along with pedestrians, flagrant disregard for the rules put in place to protect citizens from injury or death.

    And 2. The inability of the Police Dept. and those who we pay to oversee them, to enforce such laws.

    This cannot be done by a protest, or ride, of any sort, that will invariably break the same, and possibly more, city ordinances and or levels of trust.

    That is like fighting fire with a can of gasoline, and will only legitimately result in more problems.

    Once again, I hope this sound advice is not falling on deaf ears, or eyes as this forum happens to entail.

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  • Jan November 7, 2007 at 5:08 pm

    #57 Gar,
    I agree with you. This is a problem all around America – where cops disregard laws that the rest of us have to obey, especially when they are not in a rush to an incident that requires their immediate attention. Keeping bike cops ON the road where they are supposed to be would add to long term understanding of the conditions out there that the rest of us have to endure. I won\’t even go into the countless times I\’ve seen cops talking on the cell phone while driving, which is also illegal here where I live.

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  • Bicycledave November 7, 2007 at 5:11 pm

    I agree with part of what I think Dabby is saying. That clogging traffic and angering motorists will hurt our cause. Will it do more damage than good? I can\’t say.

    Here\’s my vision for a protest ride:

    Announce a press conference for 5PM on a weekday for Waterfront Park, Pioneer Square, City Hall or the like. I think it would be well covered. The area media seem to be very ready to cover bike issues.

    Bicyclists ride to this point from all over the Portland area some in organized groups, but most on their own. When thousands of us converge on downtown without a traffic jam it will show everyone what a benefit to all that byciclists are.

    Have some articulate types like Joe “Metal Cowboy” Kurmaskie and/or Scott Bricker speak about our vision for how to make the streets safer for all.

    Meet old and new bike friends talk about ideas and head home as groups and individuals once again showing the value of bikes on the road by not causing traffic jams.

    If we can get enough people there I believe this will have a very positive effect on our cause.

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  • Peter W November 7, 2007 at 5:19 pm

    I sent this email to Mayor Potter:

    \”
    Dear Mayor Potter,

    I\’m very concerned that the Portland Police are not doing as good of a job at protecting the public as they could.

    While the police were busy doing a sting at Ladds Circle yesterday to catch cyclists running stop signs, Siobhan Doyle was hit by a car that was making a right turn from Interstate onto Greeley in exactly the place where Brett Jarolimek was killed just two weeks prior by a right turning garbage truck.

    If it is important to enforce the laws for cyclists, why is it not important to enforce the laws for motorists? The Portland Police should be doing stings to catch drivers giving cyclists the \’right hook\’, and they should be publicizing these stings and emphasizing how important it is for motorists to be careful when turning right, instead of blaming the victim, excusing the driver in public comments, and not issuing citations or performing investigations as has been the case recently.

    Witnesses told police that the driver who hit Siobhan, Lisa Wheeler, was driving erratically just up the hill from the crash. Despite this, and the fact that the crash sent Siobhan to the hospital with a broken left shoulder, clavicle, and scapula, the police apparently have not done a investigation nor issued a citation.

    I appreciate your support for cycling in Portland and as a fellow rider, I hope that you can again support cycling in Portland by demanding the Portland Police do a better job to help protect us.

    Thankyou,

    ~ Peter
    \”

    I received this response from the Mayor\’s office:

    \”
    Thank you for emailing. As Mayor Potter is in Chicago promoting PDX Lounge, I am responding on his behalf.

    If there is no fatality in a collision (bicycle or other), an investigation is undertaken only if there is a traumatic injury involved. The responding paramedic, not the responding officer, determines whether or not a traumatic injury is involved. In the collision yesterday, that is the determination the paramedic made, and so, no investigation will take place. If there is no investigation, there will be no citation issued (unless an officer happens to witness the collision her or himself). When there is no traumatic injury, it is a CIVIL issue, and the police do not get involved except to ensure that insurance information is exchanged.

    Jeremy Van Keuren
    Public Advocate
    Office of Mayor Tom Potter
    \”

    Now I was angry. Here\’s my response to the Mayor\’s office (I doubt it helps any though).

    \”
    Thanks for the response Jeremy,

    When a law is broken, it is a CRIMINAL issue, f***ed up police policies or not. The police should fix their policies. As someone who has been hit by a car in Hillsboro, I can say that the Hillsboro Police are more bike-friendly than the Portland Police (the Hillsboro Police cited the driver who hit me when all I had was cuts and bruises… the Portland Police do nothing but apparently let the Mayor\’s \”Public Advocate\” advocate for their side with lame excuses instead of real answers).
    \”

    I wish we had a Mayor who cared…

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  • Martha R November 7, 2007 at 5:20 pm

    Before organizing a demonstration, we need to get the press on our side. We need to find a way have the journalists who are cyclists to get the assignments to cover the bike-related stories, and we need to make sure that the rest of those journalists at least have a sense of what it\’s like biking in town.

    Imagine how different the recent stories would have been if they\’d been written by reporters who had direct experience as bike commuters — do you think they\’d be so quick to point out that the drivers had signaled and did nothing wrong? They wrote those stories through the eyes of a driver, and they\’re probably completely unaware of their own bias.

    Someone out there must have good connections to various media outlets: we need to start cultivating those contacts and educating the reporters. When reporters actually understand what it\’s like to ride a bicycle in traffic, they might be more willing (and able) to write a balanced story. We need to educate the press.

    So those of you who are organizing events, I\’ll totally support your work (and thanks for doing it!), but I urge you to focus your efforts on how you want your story reported, because most people will only experience a demonstration through the press, and not in person.

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  • Daisy November 7, 2007 at 5:22 pm

    I also hear what Dabby is saying, and it makes sense to me. The problem remains: what CAN we do instead?
    Bicycledave seems to have a really nice idea here, especially if the gathering is well covered by media and occurs in a location that won\’t prevent motorists from getting where they are going. It may not do any good, but it certainly can\’t do any harm and it may give us all a chance to get out from behind our computer screens.

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 5:30 pm

    Yes,

    We can stand beside our bikes, and each other, together, without needing to pedal anywhere.

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  • David Dean November 7, 2007 at 5:39 pm

    I am not against your idea. I think idealistically it is a good one. But mass demonstrations lend themselves to anarchists and miscreants and when flying the banner of solidarity, it is difficult to discourage extreme views and behavior. Remember, we are painted with a very large brush. For a motorist, it is much easier to see the idiot flipping him off than the respectful cyclist quietly pedaling along.

    Someone on this site said they make a point to smile and wave at other road users. I would guess that if you want to influence people you don\’t know, going out of your way to be outwardly courteous to other road users is the best way to do it. I think most motorists\’ interactions with cyclists are either forgettable or negative and reversing that negative perception is imperative. Also having that feeling of ambassadorship is rewarding on many different levels.

    Me personally? I think we have the most influence locally. Start with the people closest to you and talk to them about the issues. I do this at work, with my friends, and when visit my family. The relationship is already built so the exchange of ideas is easy!

    I also donated to BikePortland because I am grateful that Jonathan focuses his productivity on raising awareness about bicycling in Portland and want to make sure he is in a financially stable position to continue to do so. I also donated to the BTA because I support the cause of building bicycle specific infrastructure in Oregon. I would encourage everyone to do the same.

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  • Jeff November 7, 2007 at 5:44 pm

    Lets not forget the bicycle industry when it comes to our letter writing/ email efforts. Bike manufacturers also need to know of our plight here in the Portland area. I would be interested to know which manufacturers are contributing money to bike safety at the local level. The bicycle industry is big money and we are going to need their help to make our roads safer.

    I also think it would be helpful if we could get a list together of all the politicians, media, organizations, manufacturers, magazines, papers… that we need to get letters and emails out too. Lets calmly and professionally show them that we are serious about seeing things change.

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  • ds November 7, 2007 at 5:45 pm

    OK, so I wrote to KGW. Here\’s the comment I posted to their website:

    I saw your report on Cars vs. Bikes, which in my opinion as a rider and a driver was pretty empty. I would like to see the station send a reporter out for a week to commute by bicycle. See what it\’s like to ride from various areas of Portland, in designated bike routes and off, to see what it\’s really like. Most people have a strong feeling for what it\’s like to drive everywhere, but give an option for bikers. Attempt to interview the jackass bikers that blow traffic signals, interview the safe riders and their concerns. We are just like anybody else out there, only we choose to ride a bike as our commute rather than drive. (Personally, I don\’t ride that often, I don\’t want to give the impression that I\’m one of the hard core riders.) People seem to get pissed at bikers who are law abiding, but they forget that each bike is, as the BTA reminds us, One Less Car. Compare our bike laws to those of Sweden, Amsterdam, especially the issues surrounding any collisions.

    Thank you,
    Dennis

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  • Andy November 7, 2007 at 5:51 pm

    Here is the response from the mayor office to my letter complaining about police enforcement practices:

    Dear Andy:

    Thank you for emailing. As Mayor Potter is in Chicago promoting PDX Lounge, I am responding on his behalf.

    All fatal collisions, regardless of who is involved, are investigated the same way. Unless the police discover blatant criminal evidence during the initial investigation, an arrest is not made. Violation citations are never issued at the time of an initial investigation for any collision.

    It can take several weeks for the police to complete an investigation – for the two fatalities the Mayor has received emails about, the police are currently concluding follow-up and report writing. Once the investigation is complete, it is submitted to the District Attorney\’s (DA) office for their review, and it is up to them to pursue criminal charges if they feel doing so is warranted. If the DA decides that there is no criminal conduct in the case, they return it to the investigating officer for their disposition.

    A citation will never be issued before the DA\’s office has determined a possibility of criminal wrongdoing, as doing so could jeopardize the case. If the case is returned to the officer, the officer will decide if they feel that a traffic violation citation should be issued. If they do not feel that a citation is warranted, the case will be closed. It is to the discretion of the investigating officer to decide if sufficient evidence exists to issue a citation.

    If there is no fatality, an investigation is undertaken only if there is a traumatic injury involved. The responding paramedic, not the responding officer, determines whether or not a traumatic injury is involved. In the collision yesterday, that is the determination the paramedic made, and so, no investigation will take place. If there is no investigation, there will be no citation issued (unless an officer happens to witness the collision her or himself). When there is no traumatic injury, it is a CIVIL issue, and the police do not get involved except to ensure that insurance information is exchanged.

    I understand and appreciate the emotional distress recent incidents have caused everyone – bike commuters and motor commuters alike. Commissioner Adams, the Commissioner in Charge of Transportation, is taking a leadership role on exploring ways we can make our bicycle infrastructure safer. For enforcement, it is important to remember that all citizens have the right to due process of the law whether riding a bike or behind the wheel of a car. We will respect those rights, and proceed with a thorough investigation.

    Thank you, again, for emailing. Let me know if you have further questions.
    Jeremy Van Keuren
    Public Advocate
    Office of Mayor Tom Potter
    Portland, Oregon
    503-823-4125
    jvankeuren@ci.portland.or.us

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  • ds November 7, 2007 at 5:54 pm

    BTW, I don\’t remember anything about the show, so they may have sent somebody out there on a bike.

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 5:59 pm

    As much as I love animals, may I point out that:

    If you kill a kitten, and claim that it was an accident (whether true or not) you are thrown in jail.

    If you kill a cyclist, and claim it was an accident,(whether true or not) absolutely nothing happens.

    Once again, I love animals, do not hunt or kill animals, and am only pointing this out for reference.

    A very good reference if you ask me.

    Which you did not.

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  • Anonymous November 7, 2007 at 6:01 pm

    We could start with consistent direction – ORS as you guys have pointed out clearly says the driver must yield. However, page 10 of the Oregon 2006 Bike Manual says under \”Passing other vehicles\”

    \”You may pass on the right under certain conditions, but always do so prudently and if it\’s safe to do so (changes to law allow passing on the right effect January 1, 2006). Some drivers may want to turn right at the next driveway or street. They may not see you if they aren\’t looking your way. Ride at a reasonable speed, and scan carefully for right turning cars (see drawing below). If a car ahead of you is signaling a right turn, do not pass on the right. Do not pass stopped cars at a crosswalk or an intersection – they may be stopped to let a pedestrian cross or to let another car through.\”

    How to handle these contradictions?

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 6:06 pm

    I am not implying these cyclists were purposefully run over, as it may read.

    I meant at fault for…..

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  • John R November 7, 2007 at 6:08 pm

    I received the same form letter as Andy #88, but it was signed by Aaron Reber and had a slightly different opening paragraph. It did not respond to the main point of my letter, the failure of the Portland Police Bureau to fairly and equitably enforce the law and that they help create the perception that Tracey and Brett alone, rather than the truckers were at fault in the fatal collisions.
    So, I\’ve written again. The question I\’ve asked the Mayor is \”If \’due process\’ and \’thorough investigations\’ are so important, why the the PPB publicly announcing that the cyclists are to blame for the collisions within days or hours of the collisions?\”
    If you haven\’t raised the issue with the Mayor yet, please do so. If you haven\’t gotten a satifactory answer, please do so again. Write to the Mayor and all the Commissioners! Please!

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  • Steve Durrant November 7, 2007 at 6:39 pm

    Who is the Commissioner of the Police Bureau? Its Mayor Potter. Seems we should be calling on the commissioner of the bureau to answer for his bureau, and require them to answer to the public.

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  • BURR November 7, 2007 at 7:32 pm

    And asking all the candidates for Mayor, especially Sam Adams, what he proposes to do to reform the Police Bureau if elected.

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  • Jeremy November 7, 2007 at 8:45 pm

    From what I can see, enforcement is bad within Portland. I have seen officers watch pedestrians cross when they do not have a signal or are not in a nearby crosswalk and interfere with traffic and do nothing. I have also seen officers watch bicyclists run stop signs and lights and do nothing, the same with motorists. Sometimes their conversations with others seem more important. With lax enforcement, people do not see why they should bother to wait to properly cross a street or intersection. I find myself wondering the same thing when I am downtown.

    To Dennis, post 10
    \”Hit a pedestrian/bicycle, lose your license, forever
    Kill a pedestrian/bicyclist, lose your freedom, forever.\”
    This does not make sense and does not even discern who may be cited and/or at fault. If this was the law I would have lost my license forever even though my incident was not even my fault for a number of reasons.
    Making that the regulation for drivers licenses is unreasonable. I have seen drivers with terrible records change their habits and become responsible, just as I have seen it with plenty of other things too.
    Those wanting to do bicycle protests will hurt their cause if they disrupt traffic in any way, even if not the majority of the protesters. It is not a way to gain sympathy. The best way would be to hold events based around cycling and include education for all who attend and work closely with law enforcement in helping the community of cyclists improve, while at the same time of course educating motorists and enforcing laws to pedestrians, cyclists and motorists alike.

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  • Chris Heaps November 7, 2007 at 9:59 pm

    I did an interview with KGW on this issue and it\’s supposed to air at 10 and 11 tonight. I don\’t have a TV, so if anybody could tell me which soundbites of the interview they used, I\’d appreciate it.

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  • N.I.K. November 7, 2007 at 10:18 pm

    Not to harp on it again, but please go to http://www.commissionersam.com/node/2984 The sore-headed cranks are coming in and their lies and accusations need to be countered and called out as the B.S. rhetoric it really is.

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  • BURR November 7, 2007 at 10:55 pm

    F*ck the motorists, I say fill the streets with cyclists, stop the traffic, let them know that we\’ve got some power too.

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  • Dabby November 7, 2007 at 11:52 pm

    Burr,

    Your attitude, and obviously deeply thought out comment above reflects one (out of possibly hundreds) of the main problems with Critical Ass. (not a misspelling).

    Thank you for helping to prove my point.

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  • BURR November 7, 2007 at 11:57 pm

    whatever, Dabby, I don\’t want to argue with you but if you really want to know, your own viewpoint is pretty egocentric and abrasive at times as well

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  • Caoimhin November 8, 2007 at 12:33 am

    Steve D at #94: Yes, Mayor Potter is indeed the Police Commissioner. You might recall that one of the first things he did after he became mayor was to ride in a Critical Mass ride. He\’s a big hypocrite. If he really cared about cyclists, he\’d tell the PPB to enforce the law and issue citations to motorists who fail to yield the right of way to cyclists in a bike lane, especially if such failure to yield injures/kills a cyclist. How many deaths will it take??? I\’m disgusted by Mayor Potter and Sam Adams, who like many other opportunistic politicians, are always looking for good photo ops and sound bites. Mayor Potter and Sam Adams, try this: Rename Interstate Avenue to Brett Jarolimek Avenue.

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  • erin g. November 8, 2007 at 12:36 am

    There is so much energy here- including the dissonance amongst everyone at times- that it is, quite frankly, rousing. How shall we collectively apply that combined energy towards moving forward, towards getting things done? Arguing amongst one another is not the way to go. The more we divide, the more the status quo conquers. Bike community, I understand and respect that there is a vast spectrum of viewpoints amongst us. But what are some points of commonality that can be established, geared towards uniting various people/groups and affecting change that would improve the lives and safety of us all? Please…let’s stand tall, seeking solutions and solidarity. Each minute spent arguing amongst each other is a minute that could be spent towards addressing the true sources of danger and discontent.

    Dabby- I want to buy you a beer sometime, my friend. I deeply respect your passion, despite how much our views and outlook contrast. It would be most interesting to speak in person; I’d like that, and I think that you would, too.

    (Fyi, but one example of how seemingly unexpected/unlikely parties could potentially join forces, reach consensus/mutual respect where possible, and TCB. It’s as easy as that!)

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  • Dabby November 8, 2007 at 12:39 am

    I do not deny that my own ideas can be a little edgy, or misunderstood at times. At least they (generally) have something behind them, some sort of merit, to back them up, in half an attempt to legitimize them.

    I just have to wonder why you think that that is the way to go with it, when all signs point otherwise?

    I am sure you can see why I would question such a statement.

    I do not want to argue either, but this is not the time for thoughtless action.

    We have a mayor, other politicians, and a police force on top of the thoughtless actions.

    We, as the slighted cycling public, have an opportunity here to be seen as the voice of reason, which is one thing that this:
    \”F*ck the motorists, I say fill the streets with cyclists, stop the traffic, let them know that we\’ve got some power\”
    too.\”
    does not convey.

    Are you with me?

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  • Caoimhin November 8, 2007 at 12:41 am

    And one more thing:
    After many years of involvement in neighborhood associations, I came to the sad conclusion that City Hall will only listen when there\’s litigation. Public hearings and public involvement are mere window dressing, because the issues are already decided by the time the public is invited to comment. So, I commend those who are actively taking the cycling safety matters into their own hands and bringing the issue to court. These legal activists are our only hope. They are our true champions. They are our last resort, given the failure of City Hall and the Police to uphold and enforce the law.

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  • Dabby November 8, 2007 at 12:42 am

    My last comment was directed towards Burr by the way.

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  • trekxc November 8, 2007 at 2:40 am

    Even with all of this media coverage; I do not think most people are listening. I started commuting by bike about five months ago. Yeah, my car is broken. I ride 2.5 miles to work…down one street. And, people make right turns in front of me everyday. The speed limit is 30, I am going around 20. I will catch you before you turn. I think most drivers do not realize how fast some cyclists are going. If I have to hit my brakes…something is wrong.

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  • Anonymous November 8, 2007 at 9:43 am

    How about someone submit a public records request to the police bureau for records pertaining to whether or not there is a disparity on how cops hand-out citations? I have a feeling cyclists are cited much more often than auto drivers and it has nothing to do with \”traumatic injury.\”

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  • G.A.R. November 8, 2007 at 9:48 am

    The issue has hit the O opinion page this morning with a piece by a criminal attorney who points out that homicide needs to be treated as a crime, not a tort. Good point. I didn\’t like the subtitle \”Bicycles vs. Vehicles\” much. I\’m proud to be operating a vehicle when cycling.

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  • BrianR November 8, 2007 at 10:25 am

    Reducing the law to mere suggestion

    Here\’s the opinion page article I think GAR was referring to. It seems to on-line edition dropped the \”Bicycles vs. Vehicles\” subtitle. Interesting read.

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  • miss November 8, 2007 at 10:35 am

    Guess what?!
    My letter from the mayors office said pretty much the same thing as Andy\’s #88!

    Dear Serena:

    Thank you for emailing about the recent bicycle collision you witnessed. As Mayor Potter is in Chicago promoting PDX Lounge, I am responding on his behalf.

    If there is no fatality in a collision (bicycle or other), an investigation is undertaken only if there is a traumatic injury involved. The responding paramedic, not the responding officer, determines whether or not a traumatic injury is involved. In the collision yesterday, that is the determination the paramedic made, and so, no investigation will take place. If there is no investigation, there will be no citation issued (unless an officer happens to witness the collision her or himself). When there is no traumatic injury, it is a civil issue, and the police do not get involved except to ensure that insurance information is exchanged.

    I understand and appreciate the emotional distress recent incidents have caused everyone – bike commuters and motor commuters alike. Commissioner Adams, the Commissioner in Charge of Transportation, is taking a leadership role on exploring ways we can make our bicycle infrastructure safer. For enforcement, it is important to remember that all citizens have the right to due process of the law whether riding a bike or behind the wheel of a car. We will respect those rights, and proceed with a thorough investigation when appropriate.

    Thank you, again, for emailing. Let me know if you have further questions.

    Sincerely,

    Jeremy Van Keuren
    Public Advocate
    Office of Mayor Tom Potter
    Portland, Oregon
    503-823-4125
    jvankeuren@ci.portland.or.us

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  • Kramer November 8, 2007 at 1:23 pm

    No traumatic injury? What would you call 2 nights in hospital, several broken bones and loss of work?

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  • Bjorn November 8, 2007 at 1:33 pm

    Seems like there needs to be a method for the injured to request an investigation when the EMT makes an error. It is probably a box on a form that they have to decide to check or not as they are quickly scooping someone up and taking them to the hospital.

    bjorn

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  • rixtir November 8, 2007 at 2:22 pm

    If there is no fatality in a collision (bicycle or other), an investigation is undertaken only if there is a traumatic injury involved … If there is no investigation, there will be no citation issued (unless an officer happens to witness the collision her or himself). When there is no traumatic injury, it is a civil issue, and the police do not get involved except to ensure that insurance information is exchanged.

    Tell it to Kyle Egertson

    What was that Al Franken said about lying liars?

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  • miss November 8, 2007 at 2:40 pm

    I was shocked to find out that a paramedic decides whether or not an investigation should be done. and even more shocked to see that they are not even part of the same system as the police officers. I\’m really confused by this. Can someone please explain this? See the below email exchange.

    Serena:

    You would contact the hospital that she went to, and ask if you can know who
    oversaw the decision. Paramedics are not overseen by a government agency –
    they work for hospitals privately.

    Sincerely,

    Jeremy Van Keuren
    Public Advocate
    Office of Mayor Tom Potter
    Portland, Oregon
    503-823-4125
    jvankeuren@ci.portland.or.us

    – Hide quoted text –
    —–Original Message—–
    From: SLV [mailto:serenalv@gmail.com]
    Sent: Thursday, November 08, 2007 1:24 PM
    To: Van Keuren, Jeremy (Mayor\’s Office)
    Subject: Re: City of Portland TrackIT Submission: (bike collision)

    Jeremy,

    Thank you for taking the time to reply. However, the response is not
    satisfactory and did not address this specific case and the lack of
    attention paid to details by the officer or the paramedic.

    I would like to be able to contact the department in charge of the
    Paramedics in this case. Siobhan, the cyclist is still in the hospital.
    I\’m not sure how that isn\’t a \”traumatic injury\”.

    Will you please supply me with the appropriate person to discuss this matter
    with?

    Thank you,
    Serena Van Vranken

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  • miss November 8, 2007 at 2:46 pm

    In a third email from the Mayors office says this:

    I should also note, also, that while you can ask hospitals how they make
    traumatic injury determinations, you should expect them to stop short at
    offering you details about Ms. Doyle\’s injuries. That would constitute
    privileged medical information, and I doubt they\’ll release that to a person
    who is not a member of Ms. Doyle\’s family.

    If you feel the determination was made wrongly, I would suggest that the
    best way to act on that is to talk with Ms. Doyle. After all, this is a
    personal matter to her as well as it is to you.

    Sincerely,

    Jeremy Van Keuren
    Public Advocate
    Office of Mayor Tom Potter
    Portland, Oregon
    503-823-4125
    jvankeuren@ci.portland.or.us

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  • Lisa November 8, 2007 at 2:48 pm

    Jeremy Van Keuren, of Mayor Potter\’s office, tells me, \”it\’s physically impossible to implement [the suggestion that whenever there is a collision involving a car, bicyclist, and/or a pedestrian (any two), and the police are called, an investigation is made, unless all parties involved are alive and conscious and explicitly waive investigation]. We don\’t have enough officers in the entire police bureau to investigate the literally hundreds of collisions police respond to each month under the criteria you describe (a single investigation takes many hours to complete and many hours to prepare for in court).\”

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  • Jonathan Maus (Editor) November 8, 2007 at 2:53 pm

    hi miss,

    RE: trauma injuries and crash investigations.
    It sounds like Siobhan\’s injuries are much worse than initially thought at the scene. One problem with the Police investigation/trauma injury policy is that it does not allow for an investigation to happen if the injury becomes trauma-level at the hospital. Such was the case with former Willamette Week reporter Angela Valdez. She was hit by a car on Grand Ave. and taken to the hospital…but since she wasn\’t labeled as \”trauma 1\” immediately, her crash was not investigated. Angela\’s condition worsened at the hospital and they elevated her injuries to \”trauma 1\”..but still no investigation was done.

    Read her story.

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  • Elly November 8, 2007 at 6:26 pm

    Dabby,
    Took me a while to get back to this thread, sorry. I\’ve been thinking about what you said all day.

    Believe me, I know what you mean about working cyclists bearing the brunt of prejudices against the cycling community. And I see why you\’re wary of measures that could backfire and create more problems for you.

    But the damage is done — even if all messengers were to suddenly experience a mass conversion to vehicular cycling, people would still complain and harrass you and find ways to make your life harder. You can\’t fix things by not rocking the boat.

    That said, you\’ve definitely changed my mind a bit about what I want this event to look like. You could probably change it even more, and others\’ too, if you were to come out and participate in the planning process. Stay tuned for details…

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  • Dabby November 8, 2007 at 7:15 pm

    Elly,

    Thank you for your response. I am glad to hear that my sometimes incoherent, sometimes on the mark rants can actually be understood, and maybe even appreciated, by some.

    As I am retired, (mainly due to injury from a car right hooking me in 2006) and never going to be a working cyclist again, my role in life is changing, and maybe my attitude will slightly also.

    I would be very willing to help in any process, or event, that I am invited to attend and or help plan. And that will push properly forward the plight of cycling in our fine city.

    And Erin, I also appreciate your comments above, and look forward to a future productive conversation, and a good dark beer as well.

    All of you out there, ride safe, ride defensively and HEAD CHECK! HEAD CHECK! HEAD CHECK!

    And, oh yeah.

    Have a great day!

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  • Lisa November 9, 2007 at 8:59 am

    Follow-up on 117:

    ——————————————————————————–
    To: \’Van Keuren, Jeremy (Mayor\’s Office)\’

    Well, then your statement \”…it\’s physically impossible to implement the first suggestion. We don\’t have enough officers in the entire police bureau to investigate the literally hundreds of collisions police respond to each month under the criteria you describe\” was incorrect, I guess.

    Thanks.

    ——————————————————————————–
    From: Van Keuren, Jeremy (Mayor\’s Office)

    I was referring to collisions in general, without qualifying them.

    ——————————————————————————–
    To: \’Van Keuren, Jeremy (Mayor\’s Office)\’

    …can you please direct me to the statistics showing that the Portland police are called to \”literally hundreds of collisions\” each month involving cars and pedestrians, or cars and bicycles, or bicycles and pedestrians, in which it is likely that at least one party would either be dead or unconscious or would want an investigation?

    Thank you.

    ——————————————————————————–
    From: Van Keuren, Jeremy (Mayor\’s Office)

    The crux of my question is that the solutions are never as apparent as they seem. For example, it\’s physically impossible to implement the first suggestion. We don\’t have enough officers in the entire police bureau to investigate the literally hundreds of collisions police respond to each month under the criteria you describe (a single investigation takes many hours to complete and many hours to prepare for in court). Your second suggestion is already policy, but I think some may take issue with what the quality of evidence should be – a standard that the police have already tested in court innumerable times for many years.

    ——————————————————————————–
    To: \’Van Keuren, Jeremy (Mayor\’s Office)\’

    Thank you for your prompt reply.

    This question is worthy of serious consideration by people with more public policy and law enforcement experience than I have, who presumably are to be found in the mayor\’s and police chief\’s offices.

    But as a beginning, how about:

    a) Whenever there is a collision involving a car, bicyclist, and/or a pedestrian (any two), and the police are called, an investigation is made, unless all parties involved are alive and conscious and explicitly waive investigation; and

    b) whenever that investigation reveals indisputable evidence that a law was broken, a citation is issued.

    ——————————————————————————–
    From: Van Keuren, Jeremy (Mayor\’s Office)

    What did you have in mind?

    ——————————————————————————–
    To: \’Van Keuren, Jeremy (Mayor\’s Office)\’

    Thank you for the clear explanation of current policy.

    I\’d like to reiterate my closing point below:

    If the city of Portland is serious about encouraging its citizens to bicycle instead of driving, it should make it possible for us to do so without gratuitously risking our lives.

    Maybe this requires a policy change.

    ——————————————————————————–
    From: Van Keuren, Jeremy (Mayor\’s Office)

    If there is no fatality in a collision (bicycle or other), an investigation is undertaken only if there is a traumatic injury involved. The responding paramedic, not the responding officer, determines whether or not a traumatic injury is involved. In the collision yesterday, that is the determination the paramedic made, and so, no investigation will take place. If there is no investigation, there will be no citation issued (unless an officer happens to witness the collision her or himself). When there is no traumatic injury, it is a CIVIL issue, and the police do not get involved except to ensure that insurance information is exchanged.

    Thank you, again, for emailing. Let me know if you have further questions.

    ——————————————————————————–
    From: trackitsystem@ci.portland.or.us [mailto:trackitsystem@ci.portland.or.us]
    To: jvankeuren@ci.portland.or.us

    Comment: Hello,

    Today another vehicle has hit a bicyclist while turning right across a bike lane. Again, news media report no citation issued.

    Oregon\’s current bike lane law departs from common sense, in allowing right-turning traffic to cross a lane of through-going traffic with no control signal, depending on the driver to see and yield to a smaller vehicle behind and to the right.

    The fact that the law is widely unknown, ignored, and unenforced adds insult to injury– or perhaps I should say adds injury and/or death to insult.

    If the city of Portland is serious about encouraging its citizens to bicycle instead of driving, it should make it possible for us to do so without gratuitously risking our lives.

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  • Karen November 12, 2007 at 10:53 pm

    In regards to some of the accident situations concerning bikes and motor vehicles: This is found in the Oregon DMV Bicyclists manual:

    ***Passing other vehicles
    You may pass on the right under certain conditions, but always do so prudently and if it’s safe to do so (changes to law allow passing on right effective January 1, 2006). Some drivers may want to turn right at the next driveway or street. They may not see you if they aren’t looking your way. Ride at a reasonable speed, and scan carefully for right-
    turning cars (see drawing below). If a car ahead of you is signaling a right turn, do not pass on the right. Do not pass stopped cars at a crosswalk or intersection – they may be stopped to let a pedestrian cross or to let another car through.***

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  • […] Portland cycling community typically gets in an uproar when a citation isn’t immediately issued to the at-fault driver in a bike vs. auto […]

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  • Opus the Poet November 15, 2007 at 9:08 pm

    Tim (#24)

    Sorry for getting late to this discussion, but there were things not brought out in the story about the driver and the cyclist. One that the driver was impaired by a diabetic condition that mimics intoxication and should have been arrested for driving while impaired, that the cyclist was halfway between his departure and destination and would have had to make a U-turn to have been riding in the wrong direction, he wouldn\’t have been able to see the red light if he was riding in the wrong direction so he wouldn\’t have been trying to beat the light he couldn\’t see. A preponderance of the facts says the cyclist was riding correctly and was hit by an impaired driver, not riding against traffic and trying to beat a light he couldn\’t see.

    As for what you guys and gals in Portland are going to do about this, I suggest a massive effort to clean up the Traffic Division by getting rid of Mark Krueger, whose infamy has spead as far as Texas.

    Opus

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  • Opus the Poet November 15, 2007 at 10:11 pm

    Oh, I thought I should relay the Texas standard under the law, which required an investigation when more than $500 in property damage, or when one of the parties involved is transported to a hospital. That was the standard when I was hit, not that it made any difference, they never caught the guy that hit me, either. Perhaps adopting this standard will be helpful in resolving the ambiguities of your current situation.

    Opus

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  • Kramer November 16, 2007 at 6:11 pm

    Opus said \”the driver was impaired by a diabetic condition\”

    What driver are you referring to? The one that killed the cyclists a few weeks ago or the recent incident at the exact same intersection?

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  • Debbie Eberly November 21, 2007 at 10:12 pm

    Just last Friday 11/16 I was riding on River Road on the right side going to work on Naef RD, when a black small SUV like car; speed up to pass me (while I\’m in the bike line) and then the SOB TURN RIGHT in front of me to turn in to the drive way, heading down to some condo\’s by the elderly home. That SOB missed me by about 3 feet only because I slowed down in time, and that SOB did not even stop or hesitate SOB had to turn so faw in to the drive way that SOB is lucky that no outher car was coming up that drive way.
    And yes I had lights on to on the back of my trailer and one on the back of my helmet and a bright FLASHING light on the front of my bike!

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  • annefi November 21, 2007 at 11:21 pm

    Debbie,
    Trailer? Did you have a child in it?
    I would think people would at least be a little more careful if they thought a child would be jeopardized by their actions. But then anyone who would do something like that in the first place is not thinking.
    Anyway, that was some powerful work on your part to stop in such a short space with a trailer behind you.
    Good work! Glad you\’re okay.

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